Minister for the Middle East, Tobias Ellwood MP, yesterday condemned recent terror attacks against Israelis and raised his concerns about the inflammatory rhetoric emanating from the Palestinian Authority.
In oral questions to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in the House of Commons, CFI’s Parliamentary Vice-Chairman, Andrew Percy MP drew attention to the “appalling stories of anti-Semitism being perpetrated in Europe, with people deliberately conflating Jews and Israel”.
The MP for Brigg and Goole asked the Middle East Minister if he would condemn “not only the incitement coming out of the Palestinian Authority, but the sort of attacks we are seeing in Europe as a result?”
Mr Ellwood replied: “I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend that it is unacceptable for Israelis going about their business to be subject to some of the brutality and the murder we are seeing. Israel has the right—in fact, I would go further and say it has the obligation—to defend its citizens”.
He said that this anti-Semitism can be seen in the Palestinian Territories, referring to the impact of social media in spreading messages of hate. The Minister continued: “We have been working hard with our international colleagues—the Prime Minister is very committed to this—to make sure that we stamp out anti-Semitism no matter where it is”.
In another question, CFI’s Parliamentary Chairman, Rt. Hon. Sir Eric Pickles MP emphasised the “big contrast” between Israeli extremism and Palestinian extremism.
He underlined: “The Israeli authorities deal with Jewish extremism—they investigate, they prosecute and they condemn—whereas the Palestinian Authority names schools after violent extremists, names sporting events after them and glorifies them on television”.
Sir Eric asked the Minister if he would “take this opportunity to condemn absolutely the attitude of the Palestinian Authority and urge it to cease this senseless encouragement of violence”.
Mr Ellwood replied by stating that this was a “very powerful argument” and that such remarks by the Palestinian Authority “[take] us in the wrong direction”. He said that it was important to “encourage those involved to refrain from doing so, and take steps to encourage them to act as a consequence”.